Reviews (from internet/newsgroups, etc):
Review by LawOCG (with thanks):
Out of the packet the skyline 3 is probable the best quality DHS rubber I've seen to date. Everything is packaged well and the protective film is attached to the rubber flawlessly. Upon removing the film, The beautiful topsheet is revealed. The topsheet is flawless, there is not a mark or buff on it at all!. This is a huge improvement over the hurricanes. On close inspection of the topsheet I find that its moderately tacky with a great touch to it. By that I mean that its supple to the touch and quite elastic. The topsheet has a shine to it that the hurricanes just didnt have. For those of you who were lucky enough to own the provincial and national H3's, you will know what Im talking about. The topsheet on the Skyline3 rivals that of the special edition H3's.
On to the sponge, the sponge is pretty damn good!. Well on first touch its not too hard and not too soft. The sponge hardness was consistent through the whole sheet. I would rate the sponge at around 43 Degrees. This is just out of the packet, after a few gluings the sponge would settle back down to the 40-41 degree range which is just perfect. The pores on the sponge are extremely fine and consistent, there were no holes or any inconsistencies at all. Again this reminded me of the DHS #20 sponges that were found on the special versions. It almost seems like DHS has taken the left over provincial h3's and relabelled them to skyline3. Im sure this is not the case as thats just the way I feel about the quality of this rubber.
The gluing of the topsheet and sponge is almost at absolute perfection. After I cut out the rubber I tried to seperate the leftover rubber. It would not budge, the gluing quality rivals japanese made rubbers. Ok now the thing most people are worried about.... The WEIGHT. well rest assured the skyline3 is nowhere near as heavy as the h3's. The sheet I have feels like again...the same weight as the provincial h3's. I dont have a scale with me but I would say its just over 40grams cut on my Butterfly Primo Vitesse. Maybe around 41-42 grams?. If anyone has a scale please reconfirm. Ok, now on to the playing performance. On the first day I played with the skyline 3 I had glued it up pretty well with a few layers of speedglue. The dome was considerable and it looked like the glue was soaking in consistently. When hitting and blocking close to the table the skyline3 is dull and very boring. Everything that is hit flat will come off with a loud "thack" and the ball would probably lose about 60% of the pace that
the ball had when it was coming towards you. For blocking I found it quite nasty. When blocking there is a fine angle you must have to make decent blocks. If you block too flat, the rebound capacity of the sponge lets you down and the ball dies in the net with a loud "thack". If you tend to block with
a closed angle and graze the ball it either shoots back and kicks off at the opponents side of the table, OR more commonly the tacky topsheet completely eats the opponents spin and flies off the end of the table. It took me a good half hour to get to a acceptable medium between the two, But even when I was able to block consistently the ball was just so slow, so it was very hard to be aggressive when blocking with the Skyline3.
For close the table chopping/pushing/flipping the skyline is nothing short of outstanding. It can chop and push incredibly heavy with precise placement. Flipping/Flicking short balls is also marvelous, the topsheet gives you the feeling that you can "grab" the ball momentarily so
that it can be shot off at any direction at your will.
Now for the looping and counterlooping. Close to the table looping... The skyline3 is a completely different animal compared to hitting and countering. I was under the intention that the Skyline series would follow the hurricanes in terms of flight arc/trajectory ( H2=Low throw, H3=High throw) but I was wrong. The skyline 3 had nowhere near as high trajectory as the H3. Looping close to the table produced balls that had just enough arc to clear the net. The ball seems to leave the racket at a fairly slow pace but almost doubles it pace once it lands on the opponents side and kicks off. This effect is a major advantage as it makes life hell for people who like to block and counterhit. This affect became more and more apparant as you start moving further back. The further you are back the more powerless you seem but the harder the ball kicks. It takes a lot of effort to produce a nice topspin ball with decent speed. Middistance counterlooping with the skyline3 is a struggle, No matter how different your technique is, the sponge has to come into play when your a couple of meters back. To me I felt that the sponge just couldnt take it, The harder I hit the more apparant the limit of the sponge. Keep in mind that I have already had 3 coats of glue on the rubber while I was doing this( and yes the rubber was already broken in, It was glued and stretched and primed a few times).
Conclusion: It's a very mixed result. For hitting and blocking, its definitely not the best choice. For looping its very hard to say. If you tend to use the topsheet when you loop eg you graze the ball alot. Then you might find this a great rubber, For those seasoned loopers out there that use both the sponge and the topsheet. You would be better off with something else, As for the power drivers that rely on the sponge the Skyline is definitely not the way to go.